The R350 grant is a crucial support mechanism for millions of South Africans every month. However, many who rely on the crucial support have not received payments dating back for more than a year.
In August 2021, the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant was reintroduced to support unemployed individuals living in South Africa. While millions of people applied to receive the relief, their applications were rejected by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
Sassa provided unsuccessful grant applicants with the opportunity to appeal the decision made by the agency. Many of these unsuccessful applicants took up the opportunity to submit SRD reconsideration applications.
The agency said all successful reconsideration requests made between August 2021 and March 2022 would be paid during July 2022. However, many people have complained that they have not received their grant payments.
Elizabeth Raiters from civil movement #PayTheGrants says they are inundated with complaints from individuals who have not received their old SRD grant payments. They add that this is also the case for SRD grant payments for the past few months.
Raiters says some people have up to eight months worth of outstanding grant payments. This would amount to R2800. Many of these individuals were initially declined from receiving the grant but submitted successful appeals.
A common reason why people are being declined from receiving the SRD grant is because Sassa has detected an amount of money in their banking account that exceeds that current threshold of R350. Sassa will provide them the “alternative income identified” SRD grant status.
Raiters said, “I’m telling you right now I work on a daily basis for the people, mothers are crying that they are caregivers yet they are being declined for alternative income source and they are unemployed so Sassa is really not doing their homework and I really think Sassa systems are flawed”.
Sassa says that caregivers are eligible to receive the grant if they do not have money in their bank account exceeding the income threshold.
The Department of Social Development has gazetted a proposal that could see the income threshold increased to R624, which is equal to the food poverty line in South Africa.
Raiters says they are waiting for this to be passed and implemented as fewer people are receiving the grant under the current income threshold.